Absurd to Call Samsung Customer Service Issue a “Tech PR Fail”

The Twittersphere lit up yesterday over a piece in the NY Times. The Haggler consumer advocate Hatchet-job1column reported a customer service issue involving a Samsung printer. The problem escalated, a PR person somehow got caught in the middle, and before you knew it, people were flagging this as another instance of tech PR gone wild.

I share the link and a few excerpts to illustrate:

Q: In September 2010, I bought a Samsung all-in-one laser printer. It performed well until early 2012, when Samsung changed something… the cartridges have the same name and product number, but they no longer work with my printer… in other words, the change instantly made a relatively new printer obsolete

A: …When the Haggler wrote to Samsung, a woman….who works for the public relations firm… sent an email that said should be attributed to a "spokesperson" for the company…. "We are sorry to hear of the problem… To the best of our knowledge the problem described is an anomaly… we have since offered a courtesy on-site repair" A technician visited the customer at no charge.

The printer was ultimately replaced.  No harm no foul, right?

Not so fast, there was not such a happy ending here; getting resolution took some teeth pulling and was very frustrating for the customer; it wasted time and got the Haggler involved in the first place. The Haggler endured some aggravation, too (well, at least he filled some white space with the sad story). And Samsung and its PR firm (named in the column) got unwelcome attention.

The Haggler ended the piece with the swipe:

Less than illuminating… but a fitting end to Samsung's ham handed approach to public relations

Really?!!! Seems to me that this was a customer service issue turned into a PR issue because a publication and PR person got involved. Is the Haggler advocating better PR or better customer service? Should Samsung have performed differently or better because suddenly the NY Times was involved?

I am not necessarily defending Samsung; shame on them for not jumping on the problem and resolving it more quickly. The hapless PR person was caught in the middle, please Haggler (and people everywhere) don't shoot the messenger.

And Haggler, why not demand to speak to a customer service manager, surely you have a little clout? Let's please call a customer service issue for what it is and not take cheap shots at easy targets.

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